act Fort Advocaten > Amsterdam, Netherlands > Firm Profile

act Fort Advocaten

Netherlands > Industry focus: retail Tier 2

act Fort Advocaten advises domestic and international consumer goods companies on contentious and non-contentious real estate, rental and franchise law matters. Clients include real estate developers, investors, franchisors and retailers. Katinka Verdurmen has a broad practice, advising on contractual agreements as well as representing clients in court. Jodit de Bruin assists with leases for commercial spaces and Dirk van den Berg adds real estate and franchise expertise.

Practice head(s):

Katinka Verdurmen; Dirk van den Berg; Jodit de Bruin

Key clients

Association of franchisees of Albert Heijn

Sports Unlimited B.V.

Nespresso Nederlands B.V.

Mirage Retail Group B.V.

Associaton of franchisees of McDonalds

Oogwereld B.V.

Xenos B.V.

JD Sports Fashion B.V.

Sports Unlimited Fashion B.V.

Yves Rocher Nederland B.V.

Work highlights

  • Representing the franchise association of Albert Heijn (VAHFR) in a complex matter on financial settlements against franchisor Albert Heijn.
  • Advising Mirage Retail Group a.o. in the discussions with the associations of franchisees of both Blokker and Intertoys and on various rental, real estate and franchise law related matters.
  • Advising Sports Unlimited Retail B.V., a subsidiary of JD Sports Fashion B.V., on litigation between Sports Unlimited Retail B.V. and a landlord against the petition for bankruptcy, and proceedings with regard to obtaining rent reduction.

Netherlands > Real estate Tier 4

act Fort Advocaten specialises in real estate and corporate law, with a strong contentious offering acting in disputes. The practice focuses on the retail, hotel and leisure sectors and acts for a range of clients including investors, developers, real estate funds, and businesses. Practice heads are Pieter Twaalfhoven, Katinka Verdurmen, Dirk van den Berg and Jodit de Bruin.

Practice head(s):

Pieter Twaalfhoven; Katinka Verdurmen; Dirk van den Berg; Jodit de Bruin

Other key lawyers:

Ruud Vermeer; Mirre Vermeer


‘A pragmatic way of communicating, good empathy and realistic to the client.’

‘Realistic towards the client. Nice and clear communication.’

‘Good combination of legal expertise and commercial insight, which makes the legal process more efficient and less time consuming. Legal fees are reasonable and justified.’

‘Mirre Vermeer is diligent, engaged and accurate and has a great sense of commercial implications. She is persuasive, has a great sense of fairness and can be tough when needed.’

‘Highly motivated and dedicated team that is definitely willing to walk the extra mile!’

‘Jodit de Bruin in particular understands the issues fast and has very good in depth knowledge of the legal situation. She and her team deliver good quality products in time.’

Key clients

Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants B.V.

Nedstede Holding B.V.

Mirage Retail Group B.V. (Blokker, Intertoys, MINISO, BCC)

Metroprop B.V.

JD Sports Fashion B.V. / Sports Unlimited Retail B.V.

EQT Exeter Proptery Group B.V.

Corendon Hotels & Resorts B.V.

Wisdom Holding Netherlands B.V

Action Nederland B.V.

Søstrene Grene

De Vijf Heeren B.V.

ARC Real Estate Partners B.V.

Equity Estate Group

PB Capital B.V.

Propertize B.V.

Spring Real Estate B.V.

Nespresso Nederland B.V.

SynVest Dutch Real Estate B.V.

Libra International

Yves Rocher Nederland B.V.

Work highlights

  • Representing Nedstede Holding B.V. on the dispute between Vitesse and Stadion Arnhem over Vitesse’s attempt to avoid reduce the rental repayments and with regard to the claim to terminate the lease of the stadium.
  • Advising Mirage Retail Group in the discussions with the associations of franchisees of both Blokker and Intertoys and on various rental, real estate and franchise law related matters.
  • Litigating in a dispute between hotel chain Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants and pension fund ROV around the construction of a high profile tower building in the centre of the city of Utrecht.

Netherlands > Dispute resolution: Commercial litigation Tier 5

Berth Brouwer leads act Fort Advocaten‘s industry focused dispute resolution team. The firm represents clients in the retail, real estate and leisure sectors in contractual disputes, and often collaborates with the firm's real estate team on contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Berth Brouwer

Other key lawyers:

Katinka Verdurmen


‘Efficient with an eye for the business aspects of a case, fast, competent and knowledgeable.’

‘Berth Brouwer and the team deliver fast high-quality dispute resolution services.’

‘Berth Brouwer has a helicopter view and is always thinking and communicating his thoughts which makes working with him feel good.’

‘Berth Brouwer and Katinka Verdurmen act fast, are very good litigators and are approachable.’

Key clients

Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants

Marggraff Foundation

Stadion Arnhem


Sports Unlimited Retail B.V.

JD Sports Fashion B.V.

Metroprop B.V.

De Vijf Heeren B.V.

Torn B.V.

Gein B.V.

Fisherman B.V.

Stichting Ymere

Schiphol Taxi B.V.

Hein Schilder Groep B.V.

Work highlights

  • Represented the Association of Franchisees of Albert Heijn (VAHFR) in a complex and long-running matter on financial settlements against franchisor Albert Heijn.
  • Represented Stadion Arnhem in a dispute between premier division soccer club Vitesse and Stadion Arnhem over Vitesse’s attempt to avoid reduced rental repayments and with regard to the claim to terminate the lease of the stadium.
  • Represented Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants in litigation between Amrâth and SPF.

The firm: act Fort Advocaten (“act FORT”) is a law firm located in Amsterdam, specialised in real estate law and corporate law and all related legal areas with a leading position in the retail, real estate and hotels and leisure industries.

Our 30+ expert lawyers (of which 9 are partners) advise on a wide range of legal issues, ranging from rental matters, real estate transactions and acquisitions to corporate disputes, employment and franchise related matters and restructuring.

We work for (international) corporate companies, mid-sized enterprises, governments, investors and regularly act as official receiver for the Amsterdam Court. We do so with dedication, spirit and expertise.

act FORT was ranked as leading firm in the The Legal 500 EMEA edition in the section industry focus “Retail” in 2018-2022, in the category Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation in 2019-2022 and in Real Estate in 2020-2022.

How we work: Our lawyers are highly specialised in their jurisdiction and always keep abreast of recent developments and follow specialist training courses in their field of law.

The lawyers in our various practice groups work together closely in multidisciplinary teams. By pooling our knowledge and being alert to our clients’ needs, we are able to achieve the best results and help them make the best decisons.

Our clients are our key focus. Every client has a dedicated contact at partner level. act FORT values creativity and seeks ways to build solutions, providing top quality service at competitieve rates. We accomplish more by working together and favour short lines of communication, fully focused on our client’s case.

European alliance act legal: act FORT is part of act legal, a growing European alliance of 9 independent  law firms that operate at the top-end of the market.

The alliance offers international companies operating in the European market high-quality advice, at local and international level. This way act legal also forms, especially for American and Asian companies, an efficient one-stop solution for excellent legal support in Europe.

act legal represents a team of more than 300 first-class corporate and commercial lawyers, tax consultants and business experts to service demanding corporate clientele. We offer the market the best of all legal consultancy worlds, by combining top partner-led, local law firms with international professionalism.

act legal stands for high quality, fair pricing, efficient bespoke processes, strong partner involvement and a personal approach, all of which make it an attractive alternative to major international law firms.

act FORT is also a member of Abacus Worldwide, a global association of independent accounting and law firms.

Department Name Email Telephone
Real estate Pieter Twaalfhoven +31.20.664 5111
Real estate Mirre Vermeer +31.20.664 5111
Dispute resolution: Corporate & commercial litigation Berth Brouwer +31.20.664 5111
Commercial, Corporate and M&A Terry Steffens +31.20.664 5111
Commercial, corporate and M&A Harro Schulz +31.20.664 5111
Franchise, Real estate Katinka Verdurmen +31.20.664 5111
Franchise, Real estate Dirk van den Berg +31.20.664 5111
Employment Elias van Kampen +31.20.664 5111
Restructuring and insolvency Derk van Geel +31.20.664 5111
Number of lawyers : 34
act legal
Abacus Worldwide

Industry Focus: Retail

New Dutch Franchise Act imposes new rules: timely advise is key

The franchise market is full of dynamism, with the new Dutch Franchise Act being a major driver. But challenges around sharp rising costs and inflation also set the sector in motion. According to partners Katinka Verdurmen and Dirk van den Berg of Amsterdam based act Fort Advocaten (“act FORT”), both specialised in franchise, it is important for franchisors and franchisees to address these issues in a timely and joint manner. “We are the appropriate sparring partner in this respect.”

Staff shortages, rising energy costs; it causes headaches for retailers. So do rent increases, sometimes as high as over 14 per cent in the Netherlands. Verdurmen: “Entrepreneurs in the franchise market also have to deal with this.  We do see, however, that franchisors, who rent out premises to their franchisees, are much more thoughtful than regular landlords. After all, those franchisors are also entrepreneurs, who know what other challenges the franchisees are coping with, and then often do not pass on the full 14 per cent inflation correction.”

It marks the franchise market after the introduction of the Franchise Act, in which there is generally good cooperation. But it also marks act FORT, which is a leading firm in the franchise sector. Van den Berg: “We advise both franchisors and franchisees, locally in the Netherlands and internationally. act FORT is part of act legal. A growing alliance of independent, medium-sized law firms in nine European countries. We can therefore also help formulas that want to expand in Europe or that already work in multiple European markets. The communication with our international colleagues is direct. As is the communication with our clients. That is how we like to work. We like to be in close contact with our clients, and preferably as timely as possible. Sometimes we are called in ad hoc. That is not a problem, but we prefer to be involved at an early stage, so that we can participate in developing the strategy and approach to an issue. Especially in complex cases, it happens that different aspects of the business are affected. In that case it is also convenient that our various areas of expertise can becalled in.”

Added value

act FORT has a multidisciplinary approach. “Take the merger of two formulas, for example, or the arrival of a new condition regime; that also involves corporate law, employment law and real estate law. By involving the specialists within our firm, we often come up with out-of-the-box solutions that add value for our clients”, Verdurmen says. “The reason act FORT’s lawyers are sometimes called in late is that parties argue that lawyers are expensive. “But if we join the process early on, it actually saves costs. We then “walk along” in the process and that is where we can add value and help parties take better decisions. If we are called in at a later stage we first have to go through an entire file, find out how agreements or e-mails should be interpreted, and speak to many different people. That takes time at a moment when things often have to be done quickly, and it costs money.”


Verdurmen: “At act FORT, we notice that, despite all the challenges, franchisors and franchisees have plenty of ambitions and want to invest in the formula. But the new Franchise Act does set rules to that.” As a specialist in franchise law, she knows those rules exactly. “As do my colleagues, by the way. For example we can tell franchisors exactly what steps they need to take to get everything right. And what they can do if franchisees dig in their heels. Or vice versa.” Indeed, the new law contains a consent regulation. Van den Berg: “This regulation covers the situation where the franchisor wants to implement a change in the franchise formula that does not require amending the franchise agreement. If the franchisor thereby requires an investment from the franchisee, imposes a payment obligation on him, requires him to incur costs or foresees a loss of sales for the franchisee, the franchisor must first obtain the consent of the majority of all franchisees if this exceeds a certain threshold amount. Precisely for this consent, it may be useful to establish a franchise association, if one does not already exist. The franchisor can also do so, and we then advise in this process. We also regularly think with them when determining the threshold amounts below which this consent is not necessary.”

Timely advise

Because of the broad advise we offer, and the fact that we look ahead, act FORT has many long-term relationships. Verdurmen: “That is an advantage, because of the long cooperation we often know very well what people expect from us. The tone of voice, for example, is then familiar to us. If a letter needs to go out quickly, we draft it, and it is often hit in one go. That way we can move quickly. Big or small, it doesn’t matter to us. We like to think along, and like to look over our client’s shoulder. The new law requires contracts to be reviewed. What exactly does the contract say? What are the consequences of certain passages? As a franchisee, you shouldn’t think too lightly about that. It can haunt you for the entire duration of the contract. The fee, the rules around formula changes, look at it carefully. And certainly when the relationship is still good, there are chances to adjust things in good consultation. But be timely about it,” Van den Berg advises. Verdurmen adds. “And include us early on. After all, we know the rules of the game and can tell both franchisors and franchisees exactly what steps to take to keep everything on track.”

About act Fort Advocaten (“act FORT”)

act FORT is a mid-size law firm in Amsterdam, specialised in corporate and real estate law, with a special focus on franchise. The firm has a strong position in the retail, real estate and hotels & leisure industries.

act FORT is ranked in The Legal 500, in the categories Industry Focus: Retail, Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation and Real Estate.

Dirk van den Berg

Dirk van den Berg is a partner and lawyer at act Fort Advocaten. He has specialised in real estate law, franchise law, lease law of business premises and distribution law. He advises a large number of entrepreneurs in the petrol station industry, including in contracts with oil companies.

Katinka Verdurmen

Katinka specialises in tenancy and franchise law. She advises both landlords and tenants, franchisors and franchisees. For example, in drafting lease and franchise agreements, setting up franchise organisations, establishing franchise associations and in the transfer, termination and amended continuation of franchise relationships. She also works for real estate developers, investors and brokers, therefore she knows the retail sector from different perspectives.

Interview: Martijn Louws